Swift Pub­lisher 4

DTP is a dy­ing art… and look­ing at this soft­ware, we can see why

Mac Format - - RATED -

Mac users have few bud­get al­ter­na­tives to Adobe InDe­sign. This one is af­ford­able, and has a tidy new look that’s very OS X, un­like Adobe’s. It works much as be­fore, but sports dozens of new tem­plates, in US and UK pa­per sizes.

Pa­per is the fo­cus: you can’t pro­duce iPad mag­a­zines, or iBooks or EPUBs. Yet there’s no op­tion to de­sign spreads – fac­ing pages. In­stead, you work on one page at a time, and the app later of­fers to ar­range them on larger sheets to fold into a book­let (a process known as im­po­si­tion). Out­put to PDF for com­mer­cial print­ing is han­dled no bet­ter, and the app’s ref­er­ences to pre­press prac­tice are of­ten in­cor­rect.

This really misses the point of DTP, which is to en­able pre­cise lay­out of multi-page doc­u­ments. Text and pic­ture boxes read­ily align with each other, but don’t al­ways want to snap to guides. Key­board shortcuts cover things like kern­ing (ad­just­ing the space be­tween two char­ac­ters), but zoom­ing in and out is clunky and can’t be done with the mouse or track­pad. Though the app is mostly smooth, we saw gl­itches in things as sim­ple as line spac­ing and undo.

Ex­tra fea­tures like bar­codes, photo ef­fects and clip art are wel­come, but don’t make up for omis­sions like the ab­sence of checks on im­age res­o­lu­tion and in­ad­e­quate con­trol over jus­ti­fied text. Adam Banks Swift Pub­lisher might seem to make DTP sim­ple, but it sets you up to learn the hard way.

There are lots of ways to align el­e­ments, but guide-snap­ping can let you down.

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